“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
"Well, here we are again. I might as well answer it before you ask. What about the pass rush? You're going to ask that question and the answer I'm going to give you is one, they kept backs in a little bit more in passing situations than we expected. And the other thing I’m going to tell you is I have to coach it better. Our guys are working hard at it, and I’ll put that on me. We just have to get better at it. And we know that. We started working on it on Sunday already but we will be able to rush, and we’re going to do that.”
MGoQuestion: We haven't seen a lot of the nose tackles the last couple weeks. What's the reasoning behind that?
"Well we were in sub a lot. Some guys are better at playing the run and some guys are maybe better at playing able to play the run as well as rush the passer. We feel like those two guys are 300-and-some pound guys that might not give us quite the movement we’re looking for in pass rush.”
I'd planned on posting another Picture Pages this week from the Notre Dame game on the assumption that there wouldn't be much from the Akron game to discuss. Surprise! The good news—ish—is that this continues our discussion of where Michigan's line is.
This is another Toussaint lost yardage play that marks the last time Michigan's run their as-yet-unsuccessful counter to their zone game. ABC provided a slick closeup of events (the difference between doing this for an ABC broadcast and BTN one is enormous—viva ABC), so we'll get a zoomed-in look at goings-on.
ND's in an even front; Michigan has two tight ends. They'll pull Schofield as the rest of the line tries to sell another zone.
Michigan immediately runs into the problems that is Louis Nix, who either isn't buying or is just assigned to slant outside of Glasgow.
That's bad, that'll happen sometimes when you play Nix. As Nix surges upfield of Glasgow, Schofield sees him and knows he's got to deal with that lest Toussaint get swallowed in the backfield.
Glasgow violates the fake rule I made up by turning upfield. Schofield's coming, but he doesn't comprehend that he isn't totally screwed until…
Both guys go to Nix, leaving one of ND's ILBs unblocked. Toussaint makes things worse by trying to bounce around a rampant Nix, and gets chopped down.
That's a two yard loss.
Slow unnecessary for this one.
[After THE JUMP: Notre Dame faces the same problem, finds different results.]
After securing my copy of the Akron game, which somehow didn't instantaneously melt my hard drive, I solicited GIF requests on Twitter. A sampling of your responses:
There were also requests for kittens, corgis, Henrik Zetterberg, and a Men In Black-style memory erase. This quickly devolved into people sending me GIFs of adorable animals. I may have requested this, too.
Worst win ever? Worst win ever.
[After THE JUMP: actual football GIFs. Well, for the most part.]
Michigan's running game wasn't quite as bad as it looks in the stats, as they had some good gains wiped out by phantom holding penalties, but it warn't good. One of Michigan's main issues was not getting the Akron nose tackle blocked, but when this happened the guy in the backfield seemed only partially at fault, because Michigan was asking him to do something very tough.
Here's a play at the end of the first quarter. Michigan has just shifted various players around and gotten Akron to do this in response:
That is a massive gap between their nose tackle, who's "shaded"* over Miller, and their end, who's outside of Jake Butt. Michigan decides to run at this, which seemed like a good idea at the time.
*[ie, lined up between the center and guard, closer to the center.]
Michigan's going to run a stretch to the wide side of the field, and get a loss out of this. I know. So. Akron's got about seven guys in the box. Michigan has two uncovered OL to the playside plus Kerridge. This should be easy.
[After the jump, it's not going to be]
That's my compilation of all the Zips passing plays and check-downs. What you saw:
- Lots of quick, dinky-dunky passes (not on the DL)
- A handful of screens the DL didn't chase
- Black consistently getting into the backfield but nobody else.
The first complaint of many from the near-disaster on Saturday was the front four's continued inability to get any pass rush, with the bonus problem this time of no contain. Many observers noted, and the coaches confirmed, that part of the problem was the pass rushers were often chasing the quarterback instead of keeping him boxed in so the rest of the rush could arrive. Other culprits mentioned: Akron was doing a lot of max protect, a lot of uncalled holding, and of course the biggie: our DL getting completely owned.
So let's look at some Akron passing plays and see who to blame:
While the Zips are mostly a dinky-dunk offense, when they do go long they tend to leave the running backs in to help with pass pro. Max protect is generally a win for the DL already since spending seven (or eight!) guys on four DL gives the DBs an easy time. You usually want to call it against blitzes, since defensive linemen who don't have to worry about the run will break through eventually. (Unless they don't).
They did this a lot in the first half. On Akron's first drive there were two long pass calls on 2nd and 10 and 3rd and 10 that give us a baseline.
Michigan was in their base 4-3 under and rushed four. Akron had the RB and both TEs both stay in to block. Both back and the TE to the strong side help the RT block Heitzman; he's not going anywhere. Washington gets off slowly and is doubled by the right guard and center; he gets no push on the center and the guard only has to help a little while watching to see if Bolden comes.
Clark is doubled by the weakside TE and the LT—he tried to bull rush the TE, got stood up, then ripped around him and was in the middle of trying to split the two when the pass got off. Black gets the only single-team, but he tried to go inside of the LG who ran him right into Washington's mess; Black tried the other side and got held but that wouldn't have mattered since the pass is already gone.
Blame: Knock QWash for not even moving his center, and Clark and Heitzman can't split their double-teams.
Position: Defensive End
Ht/Wt: 6'6" / 215 lbs.
Location: Lutheran High School – Orange, CA
Offers: Arizona, Boise State, California, Colorado, Miami (FL), Oregon, Oregon State, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Washington
It’s pretty clear that Plan A for the coaches at defensive end in the 2015 class is Jashon Cornell out of Cretin-Derham Hall, unfortunately CDH has traditionally been a Notre Dame pipeline and many believe that’s where Cornell will end up. Michigan has offered two other defensive ends in the 2015 class, Anthony Wheeler out of Texas and Terry Beckner Jr. from Illinois. Neither of them are being recruited as hard as Cornell is by the Wolverine coaching staff and it’s safe to say they are far from being Michigan leans. In fact, I exchanged a few texts with Wheeler and he informed me that he hasn’t been in contact with the coaches in a long time and has virtually no interest in Michigan at this point in time. That being said Keisean Lucier-South is a young man that if offered could be considered a Michigan lean.
Lucier-South hails from California and as evidenced by his offer list is quite a talent. He has that long, athletic body type that scouts drool over at defensive end in terms of potential. Lucier-South has been compared to long-time NFL star Jason Taylor because of his length and athleticism. He stars on the gridiron and the basketball court, yet another testament to his versatility and coordination.
He told me that his recruitment is really starting to pick up lately in terms of mail and flyers being constantly sent to his house with Arizona and Texas sending him the most. He ranked Michigan at about 4th when it came to pieces of mail being sent to him but he puts Michigan atop his list of who he wants an offer from. I congratulated him on his USC offer at the end of August and he said that while it was an honor to receive the offer from the Trojans, one from Michigan would “just be more insane” with a laugh. In fact, when I asked him which schools he’d like to receive an offer from he answered, “Just Michigan.”
For a California kid his interest and knowledge in Michigan was quite impressive as well. He rattled this off like he grew up somewhere in the middle of the mitten. “Michigan is just amazing and some of the best talent goes there to play football. I know that Michigan has the most wins in college football, their main rival is Ohio State, and a lot of great players have played there like Tom Brady, Braylon Edwards, and Charles Woodson. They also have the largest stadium in the country. Honestly I don’t really have a favorite, but Michigan would be high high if they offered.”
Keisean doesn’t plan on committing until sometime during his senior season so there is still plenty of time for the Wolverines to evaluate him to see if he is worthy of an offer. When you watch his highlight tape his athleticism is undeniable and his frame could easily add 50 lbs. in college, but with the 2015 class more than likely being on the small side, and already containing several members, the coaches will have to be picky moving forward with offers.